You never know when you might need to tidy up for a foray into civilization. A good shave to remove three days of dark stubble will keep that liquor store owner from hitting the alarm as soon as you cross his threshold.
As a slave to the modern marketing machine, I’ve moved lately from double blade razors to triple blade razors and I was thinking about an upgrade to quads or quints. But then I realized I was paying around $3 or more per blade unit and I wasn’t getting a week’s shaving out of them. That’s when I decided to take a look back to the old fashioned way… but no way I was going to a straight edge. I bleed much too easily and make far too many mistakes. I was thinking safety razors like those pioneered by King Gillette (the man), and I was planning to hone and resharpen them. What I discovered was Wilkinson Sword Double Edge Stainless Blades, five for a buck. Hardened Stainless, so no need to hone, they last a good two-three weeks or more on this craggy old face of mine.
I’ve wet shaved for many years with hot water and a shaving brush. Best done after a hot shower.
In the interests of furthering outdoor science I tried cold brush shaving on a cold face, just as you would in camp. The results were surprisingly good. No blood spilled, and my face felt smooth as a babe’s backside.
The trick is to shave three times. That didn’t make sense the first time I heard it. But the technique works. The thing is: a single pass with a double edge razor won’t remove even half your beard whiskers. Don’t fight it. For the first pass lather up and hold the razor more perpendicular to your face. Use a gentle touch and just stroke your face. Lather up and shave again. Angle the blade closer to your face. You’ll get even more of the whiskers. Lather up again. Take a third pass and you’ll find a perfectly smooth face hidden under that beard. A fourth pass would be beyond perfection. Warning: as with any change in shaving equipment, there may be blood. Using a different profile blade on your face may remove some unexpected bits. Always stroke down with the blade perpendicular to your face, never sideways. Be careful, go slowly and use a light touch. Get your face used to the feel and you’ll find shaving a daily treat that you will look forward to. A chance to pamper yourself.
Most grocery stores still carry shaving soap, shaving brushes and blades. The razors themselves may be harder to find. Look on Amazon where you can put together a complete setup for $24-30. A bit more if you go for the German hardware that goes in the $30-50 range. The fine Bone-handled English ware goes in the $60-120 range.